The Latest: More than 200 migrants rescued in Med; seek port
UTRECHT, Netherlands (AP) — The Latest on the influx of migrants into Europe (all times local):
Spanish aid group Proactiva Open Arms says it has rescued more than 200 migrants in two boats heading across the central Mediterranean from Libya toward Europe.
The group’s founder Oscar Camps says in a tweet that the two boats are in danger of sinking Friday.
Open Arms spokeswoman Laura Lanuza tells the Associated Press that three pregnant women, a 6-month-old baby and a 7-year-old boy are among those rescued.
She said the group did not yet know where it might dock with the migrants.
Italy and Malta, which are close by, hope that by refusing entry to more migrants they might dissuade them from risking the dangerous crossing.
But aid groups say the migrants cannot be abandoned at sea.
A bus and a fleet of cars have set off from the Netherlands in a continent-crossing convoy to raise awareness of the plight of migrants languishing in overcrowded Greek island camps and maybe even bring some of them back to the Netherlands.
The Dutch group “Let’s Bring Them Here” wants to pick up 150 migrants and drive them to the Netherlands.
Organizers, who say they have written to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras asking him to help, concede their chances of success are slim. They won’t bring back any migrants unless Greek authorities let them.
“It’s Christmas, so let’s believe in miracles,” said Rikko Voorberg, who helped organize the convoy.
According to the Greek government, more than 14,500 migrants are stuck on islands in the eastern Aegean Sea, where official camps and other accommodations have room for under 9,000. Conditions at the camps have been heavily criticized by aid groups.